O-Zone: Nary a word

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Charlie from Jacksonville

I recently watched the E-60 on Steve McNair. I kept thinking how similar he was to former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard: about 6-feet-2, 230 pounds, freakish physical gifts. The basic difference in their careers was their drafted positions. Had Garrard been drafted Top 5 in the first round like McNair, he probably would have had enough playing opportunities to have had the career longevity of McNair. Another difference: by the time Garrard got his chance to lead a team, the game had kind of changed to favor a pass-centric quarterback instead of a tough, stout, strong-armed quarterback who could be a running threat. If his playing opportunities had started in 1996 or ‘97 instead of ‘06 and ’07, I think Garrard could have had more NFL success than he did. When you look at Garrard's stats vs. McNair's, they're very similar for the relative playing time.

This is a fair comparison, I suppose. Like many young quarterbacks with mobility and athleticism, McNair and Garrard tended early in their careers to lean heavily on mobility. Mark Brunell, the Jaguars’ first quarterback, also did this early in his career. McNair absolutely leaned heavily on his feet early in his career with the Tennessee Titans; the Jaguars during this time often took what was known as the “Dare McNair” approach, setting up their defense to take away his running ability and “dare” the young quarterback to beat them passing. McNair became a capable enough pocket passer to be the NFL’s co-Most Valuable Player in 2003. I’m not sure Garrard ever developed into quite the pocket passer that McNair did. As for the era in which he played hurting Garrard, I don’t know. The league always has favored quarterbacks who could win from the pocket, but it has been warmer to mobile quarterbacks in recent decades. He probably came along at just about the right time given his skill set.

Dude from Cooland

You're just mad the law makes you wear clothes.

Damned right.

Big on Blake from Philly

Zone, Mario from Zapata’s question brings to mind a recent Greg Jones joke which you also posted about pushes up versus pushes down. Though I would never dream of saying Jones came first in pushing the Earth down, I will say there was a relative lack in creativity on Mario’s part for recycling a joke for Gene, who we all know best is greater than anyone’s leftovers.

Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette is an American original. Sullying his name by unoriginally repeating a joke about him for an easy laugh is … in a word … pathetic.

Sam from Orlando, FL

I heard that in the song “I’d Do Anything for Love” by Meatloaf the only thing he wouldn’t do was look Gene “El Chapo” Frenette in the eyes.

Fair.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

I feel like the franchise tag gets thrown around almost as an assumption that we will use it on both Yannick in 2020 and Jalen in 2021. Wouldn't it make sense to assume it won't be used? As I recall, the salary for the tag is the average of the Top 5 of their position. I assume it counts fully against the cap that year and cannot be "played with" to create flexibility with what else the team can do with various contracts. It's also something players dislike. All of that considered, I don't think we can assume that we have Yannick for two more years. Top 5 defensive end money is A LOT. Tagging Ramsey once could make sense, as an average of the Top 5 cornerbacks would be a deal for the Jaguars. If the team knows they've got a proven commodity, aren't they better served with a longer-term deal done than paying top dollar for one year and then having to sign a long-term deal in a more expensive market? I just think about how stupid it seemed when the Washington Redskins paid so much money to use the franchise tag on Kirk Cousins, and they did it twice when they could have just signed him to a multi-year-deal years prior.

Nothing can be assumed when it comes to how the Jaguars will handle the contracts of Ramsey, Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue or linebacker Myles Jack. It’s a positive for the Jaguars that they have the franchise tag at their disposal because it gives them options. I imagine they may use it for one or perhaps both, but it’s in no way a given.

John from St. Augustine, FL

What Jaguars position group give you most concern entering training camp?

Tight end. The Jaguars have some potential there, and I like what we saw from rookie Josh Oliver in the on-field portion of the offseason; he clearly has potential to be a big-time receiving threat. Veteran Geoff Swaim also appears solid. Still, it’s fair to wonder about depth at the position – and whether there is enough of an experienced receiving threat.

Gary from Palatka, FL

All this talk all offseason about linebacker Telvin Smith, Ramsey and Ngakoue. Isn’t the real issue offense? We know the defense is good, but can this offense score enough?

There indeed is an odd level of offseason angst about the Jaguars’ defense. Yes, the likely absence of Smith is a concern – and there is a sliver of concern over the potential of a holdout by Ngakoue, though realistically the chances of that are slim at best. The talk about Ramsey is much ado about nothing, because the angst over Ramsey is about his talking on and off the field – and any ado about on- and off-field talk by definition is about nothing. Even with those (potential) issues, the Jaguars’ defense almost certainly will be good. The Jaguars’ offense made enough improvements, particularly with the addition of quarterback Nick Foles, that it should be improved. But I believe that improvement will take some time and it for very good reason will be the primary question as the preseason and regular season approach.

Scott from Jacksonville

It's got to be hard to report real progress on decreasing concussions since part of the safety initiative was identifying concussion symptoms that would have previously gone unreported.

It is difficult to analyze concussion statistics currently released by the NFL. That’s because the attention paid to the issue is dramatically different than it was a decade and a half ago, which means it’s difficult to compare what’s reported now with what was reported in the past. I can say that the progress made by the NFL in terms of reporting and trying to reduce concussions seems real. The NFL reports a decrease in concussions in recent seasons, and it also reports a dramatic increase in the number of players tested and cleared to return. That gives at least some indication of due diligence and a bit of progress.

Don from Marshall, NC

Fans do know that if the team signs Ngakoue to a big contract that will make the Jaguars have to cut someone, right? Maybe someone they want to keep. Yannick will get paid but there are a lot of people want to win, too. That playoff money is getting pretty good so you always have that.

I don’t know that the Jaguars automatically must release another high-profile player if they sign Ngakoue to a big contract for 2019. There are ways to manipulate the salary cap in the short term to avoid such if-then scenarios. But yes … in the long run, if you’re going to sign a premium player to a premium contract it’s probably going to mean not signing an expensive player sometime in the future.

Scott from Jacksonville

Why do people say, "This goes without saying" after they've already said it?

People say what?

ImproperMan from PropertyLand

Why do you feel the need to be so proper? For example, if someone sends in a question or comment about a player or coach, you feel the need to edit and include both their first and last name. As if we don't know who you're talking about.

What you call “proper” is professionalism. You are taught early in journalism to identify people specifically and clearly in each story upon first reference. This is because you don’t assume that every reader is as familiar as you are with the subject matter. That’s why I identify players as Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles instead of just “Nick Foles” or “Foles” on first reference in every story. Yes, most readers know most players discussed in the O-Zone without such specifics, but if one person unfamiliar with the Jaguars is reading, then it’s worth the effort to type an extra word or two. It’s also in my experience not all that difficult for a reader to read an extra word or two. Besides, it’s the proper way to do it. Sometimes, it’s worth doing something for that reason. This goes without saying.

Advertising